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Colombian Wedding Traditions

Most things are personal to each couple, but there are some traditions that everybody sticks to:  it starts as soon as you’re engaged; off to the bride’s family home to be blessed by the local priest.  With gold rings and arras – which are little gold coins (usually thirteen) that lay with the rings on the pageboy’s cushion to signify abundance – in hand, both sets of parents standing by, and usually whichever grandparents you can rustle up – grandmothers are key here, being the matriarchs of the household.  The priest blesses you, your wedding rings, your arras, you future kids, your good fortune in finding each other: everyone and everything.  That done, you’re off to start planning your big day!
At the bridal shower, the bride’s mother will give her a variety of monogrammed items to take to her new home: towels, pyjamas, bed sheets, and table clothes are an example.  Then the night before the wedding, the bride is thrown a serenata by her groom in her family home; family and close friends congregate to drink aguardiente – an anise-flavoured liquor favoured by Colombians – eat mini empanadas , and gift the bride and groom silver goods – plates, platters, and tea sets to name a few – for their new marital home; then the groom supplies the entertainment: typically a mariachi band, who are a group of sombrero-ed Mexicans that sing traditional ranchera love songs, and if the bride’s very lucky: maybe the groom will join in.
On the wedding day, the church will be abundantly decorated with flowers – as will the venue for the reception, usually held in country clubs or haciendas – estates.  There are no groomsmen or bridesmaids; accompanying the bride will be little flower girls wearing a floral circlet that matches her own and carrying little baskets filled with petals, and a page boy carrying a cushion with the blessed gold rings and arras covered in a piece of lace which will later be turned into the first child’s christening hat.  After the bride and groom exchange rings, the groom lights the candle on his left, the bride the one on her right; together they light the central candle, and extinguish their original ones.  This is to signify that they have become one body, and then they dance out of the church holding the lit candle.

The reception will have lots of floral table designs – which are for the women to take home – alongside being extravagantly decorated throughout, as well as having well-manicured gardens, using garlands and wreaths to bring in more colour.  Silver sugar-coated almonds arranged like flowers are scattered across all across the tables, and the wedding cake is always black fruit cake soaked in red wine – the cake plate, knife and slice will be decorated with flowers as well.  After the groom throws the garter into the audience, all the men put their shoes under the bride’s dress for her to pick a shoe at random, thereby selecting the next man to be married.  There are no speeches – just a lot of champagne – and the main event is dancing; there will be a band playing throughout the evening, playing all the traditional styles of music loved by Colombians across the generations – vallenato, reguetón and merengue being some of the favourites.

Before they leave, the couple will be toasted with champagne – their champagne glasses will be monogrammed – and they will drive off into the night to start their married life together; and the guests will party on in their honour.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 at 3:36 pm and is filed under Flowers, Lifestyle, Wedding Flowers, Weddings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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